Mr Mark Williams
College appointment: Informator Choristarum, Organist & Tutorial Fellow
I came to Magdalen College in January 2017, having spent seven years as Director of Music, Fellow and College Lecturer at Jesus College, Cambridge. I was educated in my hometown of Bolton before taking up the Organ Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where I also held an academic scholarship. My first post was as Assistant Organist at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and, over the years, I have performed with a number of major orchestras, choirs and ensembles as conductor, harpsichordist and organist. I am the Principal Guest Conductor of the City of London Choir, the Artistic Director of the International William Byrd Festival which takes place in Portland, Oregon each summer, and a trustee of a number of musical and educational charities. I continue to enjoy freelance work as a recitalist, conductor and continuo player and one of my more unusual sidelines has been as music consultant to the TV crime drama, Endeavour.
My principal role at Magdalen is to train and direct the Choir, which sings seven services per week during University Term in the College Chapel, in addition to various concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts throughout the year. The Choir enjoys a prominent reputation nationally and internationally and is perhaps best known for its early morning singing from the College tower as part of the annual May Day celebrations in Oxford. The choristers are educated at Magdalen College School and the Academical Clerks (choral scholars) are students, reading various subjects, at the College. As a Tutorial Fellow in Music, my responsibilities include the teaching of Techniques of Composition and various performance-related papers at undergraduate level, and I play an active role in the Faculty of Music, where I am involved in the teaching and examining of a number of courses. I also have overall responsibility for all music-making in College and seek to encourage students of all interests and abilities to play a part in College music during their time at Magdalen.
I appear on over 30 discs as conductor, organist, pianist and harpsichordist with groups including the Cambridge Singers, the Sixteen, Arcangelo, the King’s Consort, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.